Local gas prices drop 4.9 cents per gallon

Chattanooga gas prices fell 4.9 cents per gallon in the past week, dropping to 31 cents a gallon below the U.S. average price, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 stations.

The average price of a gallon of regular fuel in Chattanooga this week was $1.87 per gallon, compared with a national average price of $2.18 a gallon, said. Gas prices in Chattanooga are 3.8 cents per gallon higher than a month ago but stand 55.1 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

The Sam's Club on Lee Highway where regular gas sold at the start of the week at $1.67 a gallon matched the lowest price of any gas station in Tennessee on Sunday, said.

"Similar to watching the Cubs game last night with a quiet and empty stadium, gasoline prices have been quiet last week as markets await the next chapter in the coronavirus situation," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. For now, motorists are still 'stuck' with the lowest summer gas prices in 16 years."


Whole Foods is sued for barring BLM message

Whole Foods Market discriminated against its employees when it barred them from wearing Black Lives Matter face coverings while on the job, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday in Boston.

The supermarket chain disciplined, intimidated and retaliated against the workers who were showing solidarity with the racial justice movement that had a resurgence of support following the May death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, according to the lawsuit.

Store managers cited the company dress code, which prohibits slogans or logos not affiliated with the company, as the reason for prohibiting Black Lives Matter messages.

Whole Foods in a statement said employees "must comply with our longstanding company dress code, which prohibits any visible slogans, messages, logos or advertising that are not company-related, on any article of clothing."


FirstBank profits rise in 2nd quarter

Despite the pandemic, FirstBank boosted its second quarter profits by nearly 19% over a year ago as Tennessee's second biggest bank headquartered in the state topped Wall Street expectations in the three-month period.

FB Financial Corp., the parent company of FirstBank which operates nine offices in Chattanooga, reported net income of $22.9 million, or 70 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2020, compared to net income of $18.7 million, or 59 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2019. The average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 48 cents per share in the second quarter of this year.

The forecasted impact of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis resulted in provisions for credit losses and unfunded commitments totaling $25.9 million in the second quarter compared to $29.6 million in the first quarter of 2020 and $0.9 million in the second quarter of 2019.

"The second quarter of 2020 was a unique and challenging environment for our company," said Christopher T. Holmes, president and CEO of the Nashville-based bank. "During the second quarter, we assisted our customers by approving and funding over 2,900 Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling $314.7 million for small businesses, preserving jobs for over 36,000 employees in our communities."


Caesars resorts sell for $17.3 billion

A Nevada company that started in 1973 with a single hotel-casino in Reno announced Monday it has completed a $17.3 billion buyout of Caesars Entertainment Corp. and will take the iconic company's name going forward as the largest casino owner in the world.

Eldorado Resorts Inc. said the combined company will now own and operate more than 55 casino properties in 16 U.S. states, including eight resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

"We are pleased to have completed this transformative merger," Tom Reeg, former CEO of Eldorado Resorts and now CEO of Caesars Entertainment Inc. said in a statement.

Reeg promised to welcome the combined company's tens of thousands of employees and to create value for stakeholders using "strategic initiatives that will position the company for continued growth."

The buyout also affects Caesars properties in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Canada, Dubai and a golf course in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau. The company vaulted over MGM Resorts International as the world's largest casino operation.